Sept. 28, 2011 -- intro: The only thing -- the only thing -- Apple has publicly said about the much-awaited announcement of its new iPhone 5 is that it will hold a press briefing Oct. 4 at its headquarters in Cupertino, Calif.
What will they discuss there? "Let's talk iPhone," said the emailed invitations.
Beyond that, everything is speculation -- but there is a whole cottage industry devoted to speculating about how Steve Jobs' little California startup will next change the world.
The new iPhone, if you believe what they're saying ... will have an 8-megapixel camera ... a rounded back ... a larger screen ... won't disconnect calls if you touch the edges ... will fly -- well, it won't fly, but the rumors do.
In that spirit, here are some of the top features of the new phone, as reported by some of the more industrious Apple followers out there, including 9to5mac, AppleInsider, MacRumors and many others.
One critical caveat: Nothing here -- nothing at all -- has been confirmed or denied by Apple. The company cheerfully but categorically declines comment before product announcements.
Of course, if it didn't, all those other sites wouldn't have nearly as much fun trying to ferret out just what's coming.
quicklist: 2 category: iPhone 5 title: Sleek, Rounded Case url: media: 14619893 text: The iPhone 4 was, for a company that made brightly colored, rounded products like iPods and eMacs, kind of un-Apple-like. The edges were almost squared off. And -- a rare design error for Apple -- calls could be cut off if you touched one particular corner. But 9to5mac (see the photo they passed on to ABC News) reports the new iPhone will be almost all glass in front, with a rounded back plate. A little taller, a little wider, and, they say, quite a bit prettier.
quicklist: 3 category: iPhone 5 title: More Powerful Processor url: media: 14429907 text: Smartphones need computing power. The fact that they make calls is almost incidental. Apple Insider, among others, says the new iPhone is likely to have the same A5 chip as the iPad 2. That would speed up graphics by a factor of nine over the current phone. Word is that the iPhone 5 will also have 1 GB of memory. Just a few years ago, you would have killed to have a full-sized desktop computer as well equipped.
quicklist: 4 category: iPhone 5 title: Better Camera url: media: 14110425 text: Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Olympus -- the role of the pocket-sized point-and-shoot camera has been taken over by the smartphone. Word is that the new phone -- whether it's called the iPhone 5 or 4S or something else -- will have an 8-megapixel camera -- high enough resolution that you can take a snapshot and blow it up to the size of a mural. The dirty little secret of megapixels is that unless you really do make mural-sized prints, you'll be fine with 5-6 megapixels -- but Apple will give you more than you need anyhow.
quicklist: 5 category: iPhone 5 title: Voice Recognition media: 14370751 url: text: "Let's talk iPhone." To Gene Munster, a stock analyst who watches Apple for Piper Jaffray in Minneapolis, that may mean something. "The phrase on this year's invite, 'Let's talk iPhone,' may be a simple play on words, but may also refer to new speech-based features for the iPhone," he said in a note to investors. Speech recognition has been one advantage enjoyed by phones with Google's Android software, but Apple -- already the master of commands using a touch screen -- will give you the option of talking to your phone.
quicklist: 6 category: iPhone 5 title: What You Won't See media: 14406149 url: text: Steve Jobs. The technology world shuddered in August when he let it be known that his health would force him to step down as Apple's CEO, handing off to his longtime lieutenant Tim Cook. Cook has already been the company's day-to-day manager, and Jobs continues as Apple's chairman. But he has also been one of the technological visionaries of modern times. If he cannot be hands-on, will there be more innovations like Apple's first personal computer, or the original iPod, or the 2007 iPhone? In their time, they changed the world in ways nobody could have guessed.